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Some gun stores staying open despite Washington's stay-at-home order

Gun stores are not considered an essential business during Washington’s stay-home order, but some shops have chosen to remain open.

Unlike grocery stores and pharmacies, Gov. Jay Inslee’s list of essential businesses that are allowed to stay open while the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order is in effect does not include firearm dealers.

However, some gun stores in the Puget Sound area didn't close to customers despite the order that aims to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Washington state.

In Bellevue, Wade’s Eastside Guns posted on its website that the store is not closing.

“We are still open for business. As far as the state and all of us are concerned, your right to the protection of yourself, your family, and others is an essential need and a constitutional right,” the top of the store’s website reads.

RELATED: These essential businesses can stay open during Washington's stay-at-home order

Another gun store, Lynnwood Gun and Ammunition, also posted on Facebook that it was staying open. The store said in the post that it has not laid off any of their employees “so they can keep food on the table for their families.”  

“Not only are we providing safety and security devices to our community members (after administering a background check) and working with local police agencies to provide them with items for their daily work needs,” the post read.

While gun shops may not be deemed as essential businesses in Washington state, the Trump Administration said Saturday that gun and ammunition stores, along with shooting ranges, were essential. However, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said that decision was not a mandate but instead guidance for state and local leaders.

Inslee announced Monday that the state will penalize non-essential businesses that stay open in violation of the order.

RELATED: Washington businesses that violate coronavirus mandates could face penalties

"The state is going to take action," including citations and revoking business licenses, Inslee said. "Taking people to court is the very last thing that will be considered and should not be necessary under any conditions for folks who really value the health of their loved ones and respect for everyone in our community."

Inslee said residents can now use a form at coronavirus.wa.gov to report business violators in the state.

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